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Omkar (AUM) Meditation

Q: Some of them are developing sadhana based on mantra Aum chanting. Is it a proper way for practising Dhyana yoga? And how should I do the sadhana? If there is a specific pitch or frequency for chanting the Aum?

Krishnan Kartha: Yogasutra, your Magna Carta, your main charter says "Thasya Vachaka Pranavah". His word is Aum. It is described as the alpha and the omega. The start and the end of everything.

In Japan, in front of Buddhist temple gates and stupas, two fierce looking guardian kings are kept. They are known as Nio statues (NIYO). One has an open mouth, regarded by Buddhists as symbolically speaking the "A" syllable; the other has a closed mouth, symbolically speaking the "Um" syllable. The two together are regarded as saying "Aum", the vajra-breath, or the Absolute.

There are also lion-dogs, found in Japan, Korea and China, also kept in pairs before Buddhist temples and public spaces, and again, one has an open mouth (Agyō), the other closed (Ungyō).

This is to show that AUM is the beginning and the end.

Some scientists are of the opinion that the universe emerged from waves. In my opinion those waves are nothing but sound. Indian culture believes that the first emergence in the universe is that of sound. So Goddess here is exalted as “Sabda brahma Mayi”

The sound is the expression of Aananda or experience. The Consciousness emerged as manifest universe in experience, for experience and by experience. It further means that experience was the cause, and experience was the effect. Aananda was both the cause of the universe and effect of the manifestation. So sound is the expression of experience. That is why St John says, word was there in the beginning

So we can arrive at a conclusion as this…

If universe or manifestation is sound, the soundlessness or the silence is the state where nothing exists. That silence is our real realm. It is from that silence, we have emerged. So we have a natural affinity to silence and we maintain a nostalgia. It is like homecoming.

Just like a kite comes down to the branch of a tree after much flying here and there in the sky, we unknowingly love to return to our source, the silence. The silence is the being and the sound is the becoming.

The silence is potentially contained with the various forms of sound. These various forms further emerge as different particles of the universe.

The basic sound further differentiates into a broad spectrum of Swaras. For our convenience we classify them as seven notes.

Now you can see the single sound being projected as seven different notes like white color being refracted into vibgyor. The division into variety is complete and perfect.

The silence is ekam, one and only

Evam = it is alone

Adwwetheeyam = it is without a second

Nirapeksham= independent

And swayamkrutham = originated from its own.

From such an entity called silence, the Sound emerged into variety.

The variety is not one, not alone, fully dependent on another, and originated from another.

The emerged sound is called the sabda brahma.

It is the primeval sound. That is Pranava. That is AUM. This is the essence of the universe.

It is the seed from which all wave forms of sound emanated. In that way, it forms the bindu, the point of convergence and divergence.

The consciousness converges into Aumkar, the point. And from that point , the universe diverge into multitude.

Omkar is the beginning of all imaginations, kalpana and the resultant universe, which is illusory. So in order to enter into the silence, our original realm, we have to go through this point or the bindu which is called Omkar. That is the importance of omkar.

We drop variety of sounds and resort to the Pranava which is the gateway of silence.

From the perspective of Consciousness, Aumkar is the gateway to the manifest universe with variety…

From our perspective, or in the view from the manifest universe, Aumkar is the gateway of the silence, or the nothingness.

It is a window. A window to eternity and freedom.

The Upanishads further portray manifestation of the universe as a threefold process, they are vibration, radiation and materialization. We call it here as Nada, Bindu and Kala.

The omkar lyrically and phonetically represent the three.

Nada is there - O, Kala is there as the U and Bindu as M

There are four stages for this Nada or Sound.

The first one, Para, represents the transcendental Consciousness. It is just vibration. It is synonymous with Ananda ,the bliss. In whatever form we experience bliss in the manifest world, it will be accompanied by vibration. At Mount SInay and Hira cave , prophets said to have been shivering with bliss when they received the wisdom. In tantric rites, vibration is the physical emanation.

After Para, Kashmir Saiva School has introduced Sookshma. It is described as the manifestation of the astral. It may not be misunderstood as the beginning of the subtle sound.

The next is Pashyanthi. It means being seen. Seeing what? Seeing intentions or ICCHA shakthi. So this is described as the beginning of Will power. In order to SEE, there must be duality. So at Pashyanthi state, duality comes into existence too. This is the beginning of variety.

Next is Madhyama. The middle point between the manifest and unmanifest. This is called a stage of formulation. Jnana sakthi is here.

The Vaikhari state comes next and it is the materialization or the Kala. Kirya sakthi or power of doing is represented here.

From being we come down to Doing.

Cross represents this. The Being and doing.The vertical is being and the horizontal is doing.

Vaikhari is Jagrat, the wakeful state.

Madhyama is Swapna, the dream state.

Pashyanthi is Sushupthi, the state of deep sleep.

And what is left is Thureeya state.

The Panchavaha system attributes Sookshma state to Thureeya.

The Para is reserved for Thuriyaatheetha by them.

Normally we learn that Para is Thureeya state.

So omkar starts within us as Para, it becomes visible or audible to us at Pashyanthi, It becomes clear at Madhyama and Louder at Vaikhari.

You may please understand that after Vakhari it returns to Para again. It is like a cycle. This truth may not be seen in texts. But when you practice, it becomes clear. This cycle is cycle of Samsara or Jagath.

This is why Upanishads have talked much about Omkar.

Thaithareeya Uppanishad says Om iti brahma…Brahma is known as pranava. All that is here is a manifestation of pranava. Pranava accompanies all actions performed as a part of a sacrifice.

Atharvana Upanishad states: Aum is the true reflection of Srishti the Universe

Prashnopanishad says ”Even if one does not fully realise the true import of the Single word OM nor comprehend the constitution and basis of it, by one’s thought and partial meditation of it should enlighten the person concerned and ensure the attainment of birth next on earth."

The Chandogya Upanishad opens with the recommendation that "let a man meditate on Om". It calls the syllable Om as udgitha (उद्गीथ, song, chant), and asserts that the significance of the syllable is thus: the essence of all beings is earth,

the essence of earth is water,

the essence of water are the plants,

the essence of plants is man,

the essence of man is speech,

the essence of speech is the Rig Veda,

the essence of the Rig Veda is the Sama Veda,

and the essence of Sama Veda is the udgitha (song, Om).

I need not add all upanishadic quotes here.

Yogis say that it is from the Omkar contains A U and M which are the basic sounds which can be produced without using the tongue. Like three primary colours which create secondary colours, A U M create the entire world of sound.

Now I must come to the practice of pranava meditation. I have suggested to some of our friends a different way. After deep, inhalation exhale fully with the sound O without joining your lips to make the M. But listen carefully...whether you are listening the M within you. One day you will hear this M within you, without your effort to make it, and that is Anahatha.

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